Chuck Pagano returned to his job coaching the Indianapolis Colts today after spending most of the season undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia, but at his first press conference back on the job, he didn’t begin by talking about football. Instead, Pagano began by talking about his wife.
“The happiest day of my life was July 1, 1989 — that’s when I got married to my wife, Tina,” Pagano said, turning to his wife. “I want to thank you. She’s a soldier, a warrior, my soulmate. . . . You can’t get through this without somebody as strong and as loving, and I thank you, Tina. . . . She never left my side except to go home and do some laundry every morning that we were there. We were there 25 days and you got me through. And I thank you.”
Pagano praised Colts owner Jim Irsay for his support and said he was blown away by how well Bruce Arians has run the team as the interim head coach in Pagano’s absence. Now, Pagano says, he’s delighted to be coaching the Colts in Sunday’s regular-season finale and into the playoffs.
“I told you the happiest day of my life was July 1, 1989? Today was No. 2,” Pagano said.
Perhaps the Colts can win a playoff game in two weeks, which might just be the third-best day of Pagano’s life.